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State Historic Preservation Office

Andy Gibson Wreck Site

Name of Property: Andy Gibson Wreck Site
City or Vicinity: Aitkin
County: Aitkin County
State: MN
Name of Photographer: Varies
Date of Photographs: Varies

Documentation (PDF)

 Andy Gibson at a mooring near a building, with a wanigan behind, and a woman in the foreground standing on a cut log floating in the Mississippi River.

Photographer: Unknown; On file at the Itasca County Historical Society
Date Photographed: 1884-1892
Andy Gibson at a mooring near a building, with a wanigan behind, and a woman in the foreground standing on a cut log floating in the Mississippi River.

Photographer: Ann Merriman, Maritime Heritage Minnesota
Date Photographed: 17 September 2009
The Andy Gibson wreck site from the stern looking across the entire site toward the east (upriver) during low water conditions.

Photographer: Ann Merriman and Christopher Olson, Maritime Heritage Minnesota
Date Photographed: 12 August 2010
A side-imaging sonar image of the Andy Gibson the bow is at the top of the image and the stern is at the bottom on the right side of the graphic. This image shows the extent of the wreck that lies underwater during normal or high water conditions. The port side lies at an angle into the river channel and is relatively complete. The port cylinder timber is likely in the left side of the image near the bottom. The cradle support pilings are seen as lighter dots in a line running down the length of the wreck, having pushed through the hull in some places as the wreck has settled over the years.

Photographer: David Mather
Date Photographed: August 2006
Andy Gibson wreck site looking toward the riverbank showing the cylinder timber supporting rods, floors, and two deck beams protruding from the riverbank during low water conditions.

Photographer: David Mather
Date Photographed: August 2006
Andy Gibson wreck site looking toward the bow (east, upriver) during low water conditions. Seven cradle piling supports in two rows can be seen.

Photographer: Christopher Olson, Maritime Heritage Minnesota
Date Photographed: 17 October 2010
Ann Merriman excavating Trench 1 during the Andy Gibson Starboard Gunwale Excavation. Deck beams protruded through the trench and into the river channel. Sandbags were necessary to prevent mud walls from caving in. The trench is located toward the stern, forward of the area where the cylinder timber supporting rods protrude from the riverbank in photo 4.

Photographer: Ann Merriman, Maritime Heritage Minnesota
Date Photographed: 17 October 2010
Christopher Olson baling water out of Trench 1 during the Andy Gibson Starboard Gunwale Excavation. The trench extended below the river water level and seeped into the trench from below. The water was used to rinse thick mud off structural components and was helpful is gently excavating the gunwale. Olson is standing on a section of submerged riverbank

Photographer: Ann Merriman, Maritime Heritage Minnesota
Date Photographed: 16 September 2011
View of Trench 2, further forward than Trench 1, about amidships. Maritime Heritage Minnesota opened Trench 2 in October 2010 and again on 16 September 2011. This section of the wreck is always encased in anaerobic mud and clay in the riverbank and is incredibly preserved. The gunwale is intact, including 8 complete deck planks in place and the area between the clamp and the outer hull was cleaned of matrix and the cocked hats and futtocks were exposed. An intact gunwale and decking is a unique feature to the Andy Gibson Wreck Site in regards to Mississippi River steamboat wreck sites.

Photographer: Christopher Olson, Maritime Heritage Minnesota
Date Photographed: 25 October 2010
Ann Merriman excavating Trench 3 toward the bow. The starboard gunwale is buried under more of the riverbank, suggesting more of the wreck is intact than compared to the stern area. The Andy Gibson wreck is always buried in the anaerobic mud and clay of the riverbank in this area. Trench 3 was reopened on 30 September 2011. (MN_Aitkin County_

 

Photographer: Ann Merriman, Maritime Heritage Minnesota
Date Photographed: 30 September 2011
The interior of the Andy Gibson in the re-opened Trench 3. A portion of the deck was missing and the matrix was removed. Seen in the photograph are the clamp, a futtock, the cocked hat, the chine clamp, and the inner surface of a hull plank. The preservation of the wreck in the anaerobic mud and clay of the riverbank is exceptional.

Photographer: Created by Christopher Olson and Ann Merriman, Maritime Heritage Minnesota
Date Photographed: 23 January 2012
Andy Gibson Wreck Site Plan incorporating data from 2008-2011.